stylized green HSA card with bandaid The trend to invest via HSAs is increasing, althoughmost account holders don't do so. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Health savings accounts (HSAs) have a tough reputation. Some see themas only a tax shelter for the wealthy. Others seethem as being more suitable for the young and healthy.

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But one thing is clear from a study by health care firmAlegeus – people who do have HSAs arebecoming more engaged with how those HSAs work.

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In fact, says the study, although the higher out-of-pocket costspresented by HSAs are said to discourage people from gettingmedical care, just 4 percent of respondents say they've avoidedcare to avoid the expense.

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And because of their HSA,  40 percent say they've beenmotivated to "take a more active role in their health care." And 80percent claim they make healthy lifestyle choices and smart healthcare decisions.

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Just 10 percent of HSA respondents to the survey say theyconsider themselves unhealthy, though, and the average householdincome of participants is $72,400 per year.

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And just 37 percent have a high school diploma or less, although52 percent do have children.

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While HSAs offer the opportunity to save and invest for futurehealth expenses, even in retirement, participation in that veincontinues to lag as most people still regard their HSA accounts asshort-term savings.

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The trend to invest via HSAs is increasing, but according toDevenir's 2019 Midyear HSA Research report, while morethan one million accounts are investing a portion of HSA funds,that only represents a little over 4 percent of all accounts.

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That means most people are still not availing themselves of thetax-free benefit of such saving and investing for medicalexpenses.

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Even so, 54 percent do say that their account balances aregrowing; 38 percent say they're contributing more than they have inprevious years; 28 percent say they prioritize saving for futurehealth care expenses; and 58 percent say they may start to investtheir HSA savings for growth.

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